Mission Trails Regional Park

Family to Launch Fund to Build Pedestrian Bridge at San Diego River Crossing Commemorating Death of Son

“With the development of this fund, we are asking the entire San Diego community and all outdoor enthusiasts who love Mission Trails to support our efforts to build a pedestrian bridge at the site of Max’s death and prevent future tragedies.” 

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The LeNail/Yoler family will launch a fund with the San Diego Foundation to build a pedestrian bridge at the San Diego River crossing in Mission Trails Regional Park to commemorate the death of their son, Max LeNail.

On Jan. 29, Max LeNail, a pre-med student at Brown University, was reported missing after he went on a run at Mission Trails Regional Park, his body was later found in the San Diego River. His parents found out Max LeNail was caught in severe rain and a hailstorm when he tried to cut through the San Diego River to get to his car. He, unfortunately, got submerged and died, Ben LeNail, Max's dad, told NBC 7.

“No outdoor enthusiast should have to make the choice that Max made on January 29, 2021,” Ben LeNail said. “With the development of this fund, we are asking the entire San Diego community and all outdoor enthusiasts who love Mission Trails to support our efforts to build a pedestrian bridge at the site of Max’s death and prevent future tragedies.” 

NBC 7's Lauren Coronado spoke with the parents of Max Lenail after police returned their son's cell phone.

On Friday--Max's 22nd birthday--the family will launch a fund with the goal to raise $2 million to build an "environmentally-responsible" pedestrian span at the location of Max's death in Mission Trails. The family has already donated $25,000 to kick off fundraising efforts.

The family is also working with the City of San Diego to explore solutions for the creation of the pedestrian bridge.

A pedestrian bridge across the San Diego River has been part of the Mission Trails Regional Park Master Development Plan for more than a decade.

The family hopes the bridge will be operational by March 26, 2023, which would be Max's 24th birthday.

The fund will go live on Friday at 9 a.m. Click here to donate. For more details on the project, click here.

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